Wouldn’t it be great to feel bulletproof? We’d all probably like to feel like Superman, but once we get past the age of about five years old, we tend to accept that it’s never going to happen and we’re more likely to drag through our days, weary from work, life, and the effects of what we do to our bodies with junk food. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if there was a way we could really feel faster, stronger, and sharper every day with just a few tweaks to our diet?
Dave Asprey knows that’s really possible and that’s what his new theory, the Bulletproof Diet, is all about. And although we’re constantly inundated with fad diets that all promise to be the next big, life-changing thing, the Bulletproof Diet is different because it’s high in fat and vegetables, encourages medium consumption of proteins and carbs, and it’s low in toxins and starch.
And although that might sound pretty simple (and pretty great!), living your bulletproof life is about more than just those simple steps. Rather, it’s about learning to be in tune with your body, and about understanding how you can maximize your own potential through the power of healthy living. And that’s what you’ll learn through the course of this summary.
Chapter 1: What’s Really in Your Coffee?
First we drink the coffee, then we do the things. That’s the mantra most of us live by, right? And for the most part, we’re also pretty careful about making ethical choices with our coffee as well. We like to shop local or support eco-friendly growers, and we pride ourselves on knowing just where our coffee came from and what kind of labor was employed in making it. But how much do we really know about what goes into our coffee?
Did you know, for example, that your average cup of coffee contains antinutrients? Antinutrients are exactly what they sound like: they’re the opposite of nutrients and they’re actually directly detrimental to your health. Although antinutrientsare undetectable by the human eye and we’re frequently exposed to them through a variety of foods like plants, seeds, and beans, it’s crucial that we stay aware of— and monitor— our exposure to them.
And although we may not want to hear it, coffee is a natural carrier for the harmful mold toxins that comprise antinutrients. In fact, mold has become such a big problem in the coffee industry world wide that new studies and policies have been implemented to examine the spread of the mold. For example, one study in Brazil discovered that more than 90% of coffee beans were contaminated before they were sent off for processing. And although you might think that brewing coffee could kill the mold before it reaches you, another study found that even 50% of brewed coffees still contained mold.
Additional studies have confirmed that many leading countries such as South Korea and Japan have instituted policies which test coffee for toxins and ban batches of coffee that are too high in toxicity. However, the US currently has no such policies in place, so it’s quite likely that the coffee you’re drinking on a daily basis is more toxic than you think!
And unfortunately, buying cheaper coffee brands can increase your risk of encountering harmful toxins. Because cheaper brands are even less likely to screen for and filter mold toxins and antinutrients, your well-meaning efforts to save a buck might contribute to the development of some serious health problems, including hypertension, kidney disease, and even brain damage.
So, what can you do to prevent your exposure? Well, one helpful strategy is to buy only from coffee shops that use their own roasters. This way, you’ll be more informed about the quality of coffee you’re getting and the safety measures your shop implements. Buying single-origin coffees as opposed to blends can also help reduce your risk.
Chapter 2: Put Butter in Your Coffee
Yes, you heard that right! Although most of us would probably never consider something so unusual, it’s actually one of the Bulletproof Diet’s foundational principles. Here’s why it works! We know that coffee gives us energy and makes us happy, but it also has a lot of health benefits such as regulating our insulin (which promotes weight loss) and preventing inflammation in our brains.
So, when you swap out the milk or creamer you might normally put in your coffee and replace it with butter, you’re actually supercharging those benefits. That’s because butter contains butyric acid, which lowers inflammation. It also helps you get 3.4 times more antioxidants out of your average cup of coffee!
And if those benefits still haven’t convinced you, you might want to know that adding fat to your coffee gives you a boost in reaching ketosis. That’s the stage where your body starts actively burning fat for energy and it’s the state most people are trying to reach when they cut carbs. However, avoiding carbs won’t always get you the results you want, and it definitely won’t get you there fast. Dave Asprey proved this for himself when he tested his diet idea on his own body and found that his blood ketone level reached 0.7 withon 30 minutes! If that doesn’t sound too impressive right off the bat, consider that a blood ketone level of 0.6 is considered ketosis and it takes most people three days of restricting carbs to reach that state!
So, sure, putting butter in your coffee might be a little different, but the benefits are worth it!
Chapter 3: Get to Know Your Bacteria
We know that harmful bacteria is what we don’t want; it’s why we wash our hands and sneeze into our sleeves and make conscious efforts to avoid the spread of infectious diseases. However, as you probably know, there are good types of bacteria as well and we need to encourage their growth in our bodies, especially in our digestive tracts.
The microbes in our intestines are one good example of positive bacteria, but our diet has a significant impact on their ability to keep us healthy. We’ve also learned from studies on mice that the bacteria in our gut plays a significant role in the way our bodies lose and gain weight. Because, as it turns out, weight loss isn’t just down to what we do or don’t eat— it’s also influenced by the bacteria in our guts.
One notable study on mice concluded that if bacteria from the guts of obese mice is inserted into the gut of thin mice, the thin mice suddenly become prone to overeating— even up to 10%!— and their bodies begin to struggle with insulin production. So, what does this mean for people? Well, for starters, it means that people who are naturally thin literally have “thin people bacteria,” or bacteroidetes phylum, which promotes them staying thin.
For those of us who are looking to cultivate more of that bacteria, we can start by eating foods that are high in polyphenols, like peppers, carrots, and even coffee and chocolate! We should also increase our consumption of resistant starches like white rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkins. They’re called “resistant starches” because they’re more resistant to digestion and as such, they can have a big impact on our gut health.
Because our bodies can’t break down these resistant starches, they’re still intact when they reach your colon. This is great news for helpful bacteria, because they love and feed on resistant starches! The interaction between these starches and your helpful bacteria produces a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate (which is also found in butter, as we mentioned above!) and this vital for the development of gut and brain health.
Chapter 4: Eat the Right Fats
We’ve all heard the common misconceptions that any carbs or fats are bad for us, but that’s not true! And although pretty much every contemporary diet, nutritionist, and health expert is working to debunk this myth, they’ve got their work cut out for them, thanks to the error of one pesky man named Ancel Keys.
Keys was a scientist in the 1950s who posited that saturated fats directly cause heart disease. And everyone believed this theory until it was later discovered that he had manipulated his results in order to bolster his own theory. Although the truth about Keys is widely known today, sadly a lot of people haven’t gotten the memo, and his fallacy still persists to this day.
But as you cultivate your own health, it’s important to remember that in reality, your body cannot run properly without high-quality fats. That’s because fats are comprised of good things like omega-3 oils which your body desperately needs but can’t produce on its own. Eating foods that are rich in high-quality fats promote more of these beneficial chemicals and, in fact, literally enable you to think better! That’s because myelin is based in fat, and myelin is what lines your nerves. When your nerves are properly lubricated with fats, your nerves are able to transmit messages throughout your body at a higher rate of speed.
But now that you know how helpful fats are, how can you identify the right kinds of fats? Well, the Bulletproof Diet recommends short and medium-length fats like MCT oil because, after careful study of nutritionist Mary Enig’s fat theory, Asprey concurred that the shorter the fat molecule is, the rarer and more anti-inflammatory it is. That’s what makes it more beneficial to your body.
Additional bulletproof fats include cocoa butter, krill oil, avocado oil, ghee, coconut oil, sunflower lecithin and grass-fed butter.
Chapter 5: High-Quality Proteins Are Essential for Your Diet
We all know that we need protein, but how can we determine which proteins are high-quality and thus, more beneficial for our diets? The Bulletproof Diet recommends sticking only to organic, grass-fed meat because not only were these animals raised in a healthy, chemical-free environment, their meat will also have more nutrients and fewertoxins than animals which were fed on grain. This meat is also richer in antioxidants, omega-3s, trace minerals and vitamins, all of which your body needs!
However, Asprey cautions against the assumption that grass-fed and organic are the same thing or even the same level of quality. Because we know that organic is better, we often tend to make this mistake, but it’s important to know the difference. Although it’s definitely true that organic meat— even organic grain-fed— is almost always better than conventional meat, this option still contains a higher percentage of mold toxins (absorbed from the grain the cows or pigs eat) and it’s also heavy in hormones that feed your obesity bacteria.
So, if you want to promote thin bacteria and cut down on the mold toxins you’re consuming, aim for bulletproof protein sources like grass-fed beef, lamb, and pork, as well as pastured eggs and wild fish which are guaranteed to contain low concentrations of mercury.
Chapter 6: Avoid Junk Foods
This one might hurt a little, although you probably saw it coming. Unfortunately, food that has no nutritional value— which is pretty much all of your chips, sweets, and processed fast food like McDonald’s— is in direct opposition to the principles of the Bulletproof Diet.
While it’s not about removing all deep fat fried goodness from your life, the truth is that foods like these are guaranteed to leave you feeling more fat, sluggish, and generally “bleh” than they are to give you any real nutrition. And if you want to go through your days feeling like Superman, that kind of nutrition debit doesn’t help.
The worst part— as you probably know— is that these foods don’t actually satisfy your hunger. Instead, they intensify your cravings, making you want to eat more and more. That’s because they lack enough macronutrients— like carbohydrates, proteins orfat— to actually fill you up. They’re also chemically enhanced with MSG or monosodium glutamate, which is an artificial flavor created to make food taste better.
MSG works by literally lying to your body, tricking your cells into becoming so overexcited, they actually die. As your body reacts to this sudden, expected cell death, it begins to panic and send distress signals to your brain, generating a craving for sweets. And when you give in— because we all know how rough those craving headaches and mood swings can be— we only wind up feeling worse.
So, while Asprey isn’t suggesting that you never give in to a Big Mac or never indulge your sweet tooth, the Bulletproof Diet does advocate the importance of making an informed decision for optimum health. And it’s definitely right in positing that cutting sugar and processed foods from your diet is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.
Chapter 7: Fasting Can Improve Your Focus
Now, before we go any farther, it’s important to clarify that the Bulletproof Diet does not advocate starving yourself or going without food to an unhealthy degree. But what it does recommend is small periods of intermittent fasting. Because when it’s regulated according to proper nutrition standards, controlled intermittent fasting can have a number of surprising health benefite!
Those perks aren’t just limited to weight loss, either; intermittent fasting can also reduce your risk of cancer, strengthen your muscles, and give you a renewed clarity of focus. And one of the fasting trend’s most popular variations— alternate-day fasting— has even been clinically proven help prevent chronic diseases, reduce triglycerides, and cause significant improvements in several markers, such as LDL cholesterol.
It works according to a simple method: you skip breakfast and refrain from eating until 2:00 pm. The good news is that that doesn’t sound too difficult, especially for those of us with a busy workday which might require us to skip meals anyway. Unfortunately,the downside is that wr often really need energy from food to get us through our busy workday. This means that alternate-day fasting might not be sustainable for many of us and that’s exactly what Dave Asprey wanted to change.
Focusing on the cultivation of a more accessible alternative, Asprey developed the Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting method, which has you starting the day with a healthy coffee and butter. The premise is that after jump-starting your morning in this way, you won’t even need anything else for a few hours!
That’s because Bulletproof Coffee is not only very satisfying, it also helps you quickly reach ketosis, as we discussed earlier. This in turn will help your body run better and faster in addition to keeping your blood sugar steady. That way, you get all the benefits of a morning fast without any of the headaches, dizziness, or blood sugar crashes you might otherwise experience!
Chapter 8: Revamp Your Workouts
But now that we’ve spent a lot of time on improving your diet, it’s time to take a look at your workout. Because any healthy lifestyle requires a balance of both diet and exercise, it’s important to know how to make your workout bulletproof as well. And the first step in doing that is accepting that not all exercise is helpful.
Although we often assume that all exercise is good— especially because most of us don’t do as much as we should— we often fall into the trap of believing that once we do get a chance to work out, we need to do as much as possible and as hard and fast as possible. That is not true! In fact, exercising the wrong way can damage your cardiac muscles and create life-threatening injuries.
So, here’s how to bulletproof your workout. The best thing to do is to start with high-intensity workouts at spaced-out intervals. For maximum effect and benefit, you want your exercise to be brief, intense, infrequent, safe and purposeful. You can achieve that by working out in short bursts, like running as fast as you can for 30seconds, resting for 90 seconds, and then repeating this practice throughout a period of 15 minutes.
You can also try short periods of intense weight training, like using the seated row and the chest press for 20 minutes at a time. However, as you do this, it’s vital that you listen to your body. Although you shouldn’t simply give up as soon as you start to feel a little tired, you should pay attention to signs like severe shortness of breath, intense pain, or the sensation that your muscles are failing under the weights. If you’re lifting something that’s genuinely too heavy, stop immediately.
But whether you’re focusing on cardio or weight training, remember to always give your body time to recover between workouts. Overdoing it won’t help you build muscle or be healthy; it’ll only damage your body. So, make sure that after each high-intensity workout, you allow yourself to rest for two to ten days in between.
Chapter 9: Eat Well, Sleep Well!
It might come as a surprise, but your diet actually plays a huge and vital in the quality of sleep you get. Although we know we feel sharper, better, and more clear-headed every time we get a good night’s sleep, we’re often less aware of the direct link between what we eat and how we sleep. However, The Bulletproof Diet aims to exploit this link for the purpose of maximizing the potential benefits
One way to do that is to eat fat at dinner. Whether you choose something like grass-fed meat, grass-fed butter, or coconut oil, any of these fats will serve as slow-burning fuel for your body and mind as you fall asleep rather than giving you one sharp burst of sleep-disrupting energy.
Fish oil or raw honey are also great nighttime foods because the DHA hormone in fish oil helps you produce more serotonin, which raises the happiness hormones in your brain and lowers your stress levels. And it’s kind of a no-brainer that when we feel more relaxed and less stressed, we’re more likely to sleep better!
Chapter 10: Final Summary
So, what can we conclude about the Bulletproof Diet? Well, perhaps the first and most important take-away is that the Bulletproof Diet is more than just a new food fad— it’s a lifestyle, designed to maximize your focus, energy levels, and overall wellbeing through the transformation of your diet and workout habits. By eliminating sugar from your diet and replacing it with good fats and proteins, along with high-intensity workouts and the removal of harmful toxins from your diet, you’ll feel less sluggish and more like Superman. (Or pretty close, at least!)